Jardin des Vestiges

Marseille, France

The Jardin des Vestiges is a garden containing the archaeological remains of the ancient port of Marseille. In Greek times, the old port extended further to the east and up to the northeast forming what is known as the horn of the port which ended in a marshy area. 

The oldest discoveries were made in the northwestern part and involved a portion of the north–south road which dates back to the 6th century BC. A first rampart made up of a white limestone base from Saint-Victor surmounted by an elevation in raw clay bricks dating from the end of the 5th century BC was also discovered.

In the second half of the 2nd century BC, the rampart was rebuilt on a large scale, this time in blocks of pink limestone from Cape Couronne, transported by boat. It is this rampart that defended the city during the siege of Julius Caesar in 49 BC. It would remain in use until the beginning of the Middle Ages. The wall was built according to a usual technique of Greek military architecture with two facings built with standardized blocks, the interior being filled with residues from the cutting of blocks or stones from the old rampart.

The porte d’Italie was guarded by two towers built to the east of the previous towers of the 4th century BC. To the east of the garden and near the gallery of the Center Bourse is a large square freshwater basin made at the beginning of the 2nd century, about 15 m on each side, in well-paired stones, comprising on the whole five courses. 



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Founded: 6th century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in France
Historical period: Arrival of Celts (France)

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Peter Lambert (2 years ago)
I didn't spend much time here but from what I saw it's worth a look for any antique hunters.
Zene Mcmillan (2 years ago)
Small but very interesting Roman site. The metal boat sculptures give a feel for what it was like and how it worked
Dr. Jose G. Lepervanche Valencia Global Campus (3 years ago)
We started our walking tour with MSC Excursions here. The area was restored to remember the ancient Roman Port. The metal ship structures are a good way to imagine the ancient ships.
Anne Justino (3 years ago)
The Musée d'histoire antique de Marseille, is a very good museum with an amazing collection of the oldest village from France! There is no cost to see the fixed exposition, however you need to pay to see the others expositions. It is located next to the mall "centre bourse".
Natalie Daz (4 years ago)
In Greek times, the old port extended further east and went up to the northeast. This part of the harbour is now covered with grass. The docks now visible date back from Roman times and the stairs used for unloading goods are still visible. All kinds of rubbish, crockery and various objects were left there. In fact, a 23 m long ship was even abandoned there around the 3rd century. This ship gradually sank in the mud, which ensured its preservation (it is currently on exhibition at the Marseille History Museum). In this garden you will find relics such as the Wall of Crinas, a Greek wall dating from the 2nd century BC., The Defense Towers (4th century BC), a piece of road built in the Roman Empire, around the 4th century... Without a doubt a place to visit.
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